Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reform Rx - Adding Voices

During this summer as the battle for real health care reform heats up, I hope to add some perspective on this critical issue. I’ll post a couple to a few times per week with several aims.

One goal will be to discuss different ways of looking at the debate over universal health care legislation. An outcome of this might be some points you can use convincingly around water cooler and dinner table debates because it is vital that we grow our voice on reform. Also you can expect occasional references to websites or articles that oppose universal health care to increase exposure about what we are up against. And perhaps a reference to an item with a farcical twist will also be offered.

Your added comments, replies, and networking would be very welcome to build on the effort outlined above. Citizen participation is a key element in this battle and pulling in others who are silently supportive, sitting on the sidelines, undecided, or skeptical is essential. Again, we need to grow our voice. We have two United States Senators that we must influence. They will hear the message from activists but need to sense that there is a ground swell of new voices that they cannot easily dismiss.

Why am I concerned about health care reform and what are my views on the subject? Health care with true reform that includes universal access and medical outcomes that serve citizen needs effectively is key in my opinion. I do not think you achieve that goal with tinkering around the edges of our present health care mess to appease corporate lobbyists and insurance interests. I believe that a robust and empowered public plan is essential, especially since a preferable single-payer concept just won’t be in the mix. I’ll try to keep a strong focus on these concerns.

In closing there are many reasons for all of us to embrace health care reform. Many of us have our own personal situations that we need addressed. For some it is older parents who need help, for others it may be concern for adult children just starting out on careers, or perhaps it is friends facing overwhelming medical costs burdens. This minute list is a mere starter. I believe there is also an overarching factor to consider: It is morally right.


Gary Dawbin said...

Bruce, et al -
One of the arguments against universal health care is that it sets up a "subsidy", a public payout where all taxpayers subsidize health care benefits for those who cannot afford to pay for their own care themselves. But when you think of it (and I am not sure that I have ever heard it argued this way) all insurances are subsidy plans - in health insurance, the healthy people who don't use their benefits subsidize the sick who do; in car insurance, good drivers (or the lucky ones who are able to avoid accidents) who don't file claims subsidize the bad or unlucky drivers who do; and the same for homeowner's insurance, flood insurance, etc., etc. I have argued for years that all insurances, except for life insurance (which should really be called "death insurance") are subsidies because only "life insurance" is guaranteed to pay out benefits to somebody upon the death of the insured as long as the premiums are paid and the policy is in effect. And even at that, life insurance is really a huge Ponzi scheme that depends on the continuing premiums from the living, plus earnings from investments, to pay off the benefits for the deceased. All insurances other than life insurance exist hoping that the insured don't file claims, for if they all did, the private insurance companies could not exist. With all the arguments about future deficiencies in the Social Security and Medicare systems, somebody should run the numbers on private insurances to see how much red ink they would run up without increased future premiums and/or reduced benefits. I bet that the numbers would be more staggering than the projected SS and Medicare shortfalls.

Bruce Bourgoine said...

"…somebody should run the numbers on private insurances to see how much red ink they would run up without increased future premiums and/or reduced benefits."

I'd really like to see those numbers too. You make an absolutely valid point exposing likely increased future rationing under the present health care mess. Under the present system we will also see more cost shifting to the privately insured making them "privately" bear the brunt of increased costs. See (cut & paste):